Pinterest is doing more and more to attract business users to its network, and if it goes on like this, it will soon become a marketplace. At the beginning of August 2013, they introduced a new kind of pin:
“In May, we made it easy for you to see the current price of pins from certain websites, but there wasn’t a simple way to tell if your coveted pin’s price dropped. Starting today, we’ll begin sending you an email when this happens. It’s rolling out slowly, so hold tight if you don’t see one right away.”
This feature encourages ecommerce sites to get product pins for their businesses, just in time for the back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons. Business owners find all the documentation they need on Pinterest for developers and it’s easy to establish.
Pinterest hopes product pins help business owners turn pinners into shoppers, and, by providing price alerts, the company challenges other product tracking websites, like PricePinx or Hukkster.
With its dedicated network of very active users, Pinterest already offers great appeal for businesses, especially for those with something to sell: Walmart, Target, Neiman Marcus, Sephora, Nordstrom, and so on. In time, Pinterest could evolve to inspire even service providers, hotels, and restaurants, to add product pins. Can you imagine booking a hotel room from Pinterest?
Pinterest may not be appealing yet for all businesses, but it is for those that count on visuals to sell. Restaurants and hotels still lack understanding of the network. Many try creating accounts but fail to engage. That could all change with Pinterest price alerts and as businesses become more familiar with their use. A hotel adding pin prices has greater chances to attract user interest when the price for the room drops. And since Pinterest still offers free accounts for businesses, it would be a pity not to take advantage of these opportunities.
This marketing chart from Marketing Charts shows Pinterest drives more purchases than Facebook and Twitter – statistics easily ignored by many businesses. To understand how to use Pinterest for business, it is important to understand the demographics of the network and their interests.
80% of the users are women, sharing recipes, fashion, home decor ideas, inspirational quotes, and beautiful pictures of landscapes. All these pins can also be used to inspire businesses to provide better customer experiences. For instance, a restaurant could organize a Pinterest contest to include a recipe on its menu; a hotel could call for young decorators for a renovation project; etc.
Even with slow adoption by some businesses Pinterest still manages to eat into Facebook’s share of ecommerce traffic:
Pinterest for Public Relations
Using Pinterest for PR also has a purpose. Since so much of the site is set up for categories, find the section relevant to your product or service and check out the most popular posts. What do you have to add to the mix? If your business is a luxury spa, then the setting is probably in a place with beauty, even if the location is in the middle of a city, your décor is sure to offer peace and relaxation. Pictures showing areas of your facility and sharing some of the information about services offers potential customers the opportunity to dream about a week or day of bliss. If you run a food truck, with a few specialties that sell big, spend a bit extra to bring in a food designer or photographer to get those mouth-watering shots for display on your gallery.
And if you can tie some of those pictures to good works, all the better. You run an exclusive hair salon, but every six months you hold a locks-for-love type event. Take the pictures, share the event, do short videos, get comments and stories from the people donating their hair and why. Like every other social media site, bring a good story to the people and let them feel good. Many of them will take the time to check out your website or gallery to see some of the other things you do or offer, and done right – you’ll add a few customers.
It is obvious Pinterest is shaping its business to drive ecommerce sales. As with everything on the web, success belongs to early adopters, and to those who can envision savvy marketing strategies to drive sales. It is not enough to “pin” an image to make pinners buy. The image needs to be relevant, engaging, tantalizing. Businesses on Pinterest need a visual storytelling strategy to thrive.